Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Looking to the Stars

The past few weeks have been extremely rough and I am not sure where the PTSD Beast exactly stepped off the bus from Paranoia Town, but its been trying for sure. For most of the five years he has been home, I have learned much is caused from outside stressors, or say having sick kids in the house who cry and scream. Hell, just having the kids here at home seems to be setting him off. I have self taught myself to side step and two step with PTSD but really not getting anywhere and the dance never ends. I have mastered the move of soothing my children whose feelings are hurt, apologizing to others for his behavior and making up for all that goes wrong all without really healing or soothing myself. I am tired. The one person who stayed with him and stuck by his side, even at his darkest moments, now has become his worst enemy he says. I am still hurting from all the painful things he has said out of anger the last couple of days and weeks. I am still reeling from how his behavior, his paranoia and much more....suddenly turned into being my fault.

I took my share of having everything dumped on me and cleaning up his messes. I sucked it up and fought back, by trying to get my husband help. I blogged hoping to ease the loneliness and to liven up the silence and bad behavior he issued me. I am not perfect, but I never did anything to hurt him. No matter what I say, its not the right words or it comes out as "bitching" he says. My children look at me like dad has gone off the deep end when he suddenly lashes out at me for "constantly nagging" when I asked him to pour the kids some juice or "hey come eat your supper, its ready". He may have disabilities but he isn't dead. If my hands are full and I need some help, what makes it so wrong to ask for that help? After a while, you start to wonder if its really you.

I watch my children who gather around and try to get his attention to no prevail. Because there are three of them, that's more competition to see who can gain his attention first to show the latest dinosaur just drawn, a Lego creation, or an ROTC Rifle team score and the latest test score. The desperation of approval is so saddening to see. You want to turn your head as if you know the train is coming and going to jump the lines, but you can't help but watch the wreck. I suddenly realized, my children and I will always be there trying to gain that attention and approval that is gone. He just simply no longer cares anymore. He only wants to see the bad in all of us, not any of the good. Some of it, never even happened. I don't know where some of this stuff is coming from.

I was there to catch him when he stumbled and fell, but I know in my mind now he will never be there to support me or to even reach out should I stumble. He places the weight of the world on my shoulders and acts as if I am "supposed" to be doing this stuff because I get a caregiver stipend. I am eternally grateful for that program, I really am. It has helped tremendously to get bills off our backs, to get through the month and I thought for a while, boosted my self-esteem because I felt acknowledged and had something coming that said "yes, we know what you do". It seems though since that money started, his resentment grew. It is jealousy because I am earning a paycheck and reminds him how he isn't normal anymore he tells me. Instead of being grateful, he has turned against me because I am trying to put normalcy back into our lives. I am expected to work 24 hours a day, with no breaks except to sleep and then he holds that over my head as if I don't do anything like when I had three days downtime for my surgery. I was supposed to have two weeks and am now paying for that. I think with all that I do with three kids, him, a home and mountains of paperwork...how does he think it all gets done? I think this part hurts the worst because all I have given and done...was for him.

Do I want an award? A cookie? Expect him to suddenly change back to the old him? Of course not. I just want him to understand his actions; how his words can hurt just as much as if he had sucker punched me. Why is it for us spouses, that asking for respect is so wrong? Why is appreciation wrong for us to want? Why is it so hard for him to talk to me, when he can talk to others? Why is giving me a hug a terrible thing to crave? What's wrong with expecting him to try rather than give up?

He thinks we need a separation. "Cut and run" he says. "Walk away and let him fall apart". He seems to think he didn't hit rock bottom last year with his attempted suicide. I feel somehow I failed although in my mind I know its him and he just wants to push us all away. The other part of me wants to throw the towel in and just run without looking back. It's just been a mess....when its like this I just really don't know what to do. Then I become angry at the military, the VA and the war. Just another social security number and statistic to all of them. No one cares about what really goes on with the families who are still paying with their lives and their whole beings. I am watching my family grieve as I watch my husband slip further away from us. I don't even have the strength to tell him it will be all ok. I don't even know how to soothe the worries my children have as I am just as worried.

I don't know what to do right now. I am hurt....so hurt and I have tried so hard. Did it even matter at all to him? I just want to have something in my life that the affects of war doesn't have its dirty hands in. Seems like my entire existence right now is based solely on him and his problems and I am sick of it. Most of all...I am sick of him tearing me apart. Things were going with only minor bumps in the road but nothing major until his friend came home from deployment. After his arrival, he just went all to hell. I want to blame his friend, but that's not fair. Mostly I blame my husband because he is giving up without a fight. He says he is too tired to fight back but when has he ever really tried? He hasn't. I have done it all and took it all away only to have him turn on me.

No, it's not fair to blame anyone but it sure makes us feel better doesn't it? I haven't even been on Facebook that much just because it stirs up a hornets nest with him. I can't call my friends because he doesn't want me to vent at all. Hell, I even stopped talking to the therapist I had. The days are getting longer and longer to endure but in it all? I still, even as mad as I am, worry about him. He may not love us, but we all love him. I just wish that we could make it through one year without a meltdown. Just one. One with good memories, laughter and love. I am lost right now and not sure where to turn to. I pray but sometimes I wonder if God is testing me all over again. I keep asking him why all the tests? Haven't I proved myself enough? Haven't I carried everyone's burdens long enough? When will my debt be paid? I really miss my old husband dammit. Most of all I miss myself.

My husband once told me while in Iraq when I said how much I desperately missed him, to look up at the stars every night. When I do that, know that on the other side of the world....he was looking at the same stars and missing the hell out of me. I always remembered that as it was the last phone call I got with my husband before he started to lose himself to the hands of war. Since then, I keep looking at the stars every single night and although he is just in the next room...I wonder if he knows how much I still desperately miss him and that it still feels as if he is there. It's hard to pretend nothing is wrong, placing a smile when all you want to do is scream and cry and most of all...its hard to love someone who doesn't want to be loved.

Just needed to write it out this morning, 


  1. Thank you for your courageous heart and fierce determination. He doesn't love himself and so believes he is unlovable, therefor the pushing away and zoning out for hours and days. He is stuck, you don't have to be.

    USM, you must start taking care of yourself again. Go back to therapy, start planning for you and your kids to do activities. He will bitch and moan about it, but eventually his attention will be elsewhere and the complaints will move over to other issues. The self-care will become a part of the schedule and you and the kids will have an outlet.

    Let the stars shine above your self-care and maybe just maybe he will follow.

  2. My dear sweet woman...how I wish I had words that would wipe away all the pain and agony, all the sadness and longing. How I wish I could hug you and let you scream and cry it all out for a time. I can't begin to understand all you go through...some of the pain I understand having gone through that with my father and Alzheimer's disease - he wasn't the same man my mom married, the same Daddy I grew up with. I will pray for you and your family and when I say that it's just not words on a page but prayers prayed in the middle of the night when I can't sleep, when I am driving to the dr. I will pray.

    Bless you,

  3. Hello. My name is Michelle. My son was killed in Iraq. I'm so sorry for what you're going through. I looked at the menu above your blog and I checked out the "Caregivers Retreat" in the menu. I notice that it doesn't actually give you some place to retreat to when you're pulling your hair out. (Goodness, do you have any hair left?) You don't say what state you're in. I can understand that.
    I'll try to cut to the chase.I went to San Francisco last week. Every year, the BlueStar mothers do a tribute for our children. So the GoldStar parents get a retreat for a few days. During one of the dinners, several moms had said that they would like to volunteer to do something for the guys that came back with injuries (including PTSD). It occured to me that maybe I could offer you a place to stay and kick back for a couple of days. Maybe you're in California. If you could get a sitter for a few days, I live in a really peaceful little town near the water. I have a nice room with a fridge and microwave. You could hide out here and have coffee by the bay...watch the pelicans for awhile. I work a lot, so you would be on your own some of the time but when I'm here, we could talk. I would offer to take your husband for a few days and give you and your kids a break, but I'm afraid I would just throttle him and that might not be very theraputic. Write to me and I can send my number. God Bless You..

  4. I read your post and cried. Parts of it, I could have written about my husband and myself. There have been so many times I have cried in the shower because I just want a damn hug from him. He goes out in the garage to smoke and spends hours out there on the phone with buddies from the military, but he can't talk to me, his wife. I have no answers, just know that you're not alone and someone out there understands.

  5. I hear you, K... I truly, truly do. I wish somehow I could fix it for you, for him, for your three little ones, for all of us. Oh, honey, (((HUGS))).


  6. I am amazed at the strength that you have.I don't think in fact I know that we don't even have a clue what the families of service men and women go through. While they are serving and when they come home. I do hope that more people will become aware of what our service men and women have to deal with...they just don't come home and everything is a-ok ! I have always wondered when the 4th of July comes around....what that must do to them ! The stress and anxiety that they must go through. I can only imagine how hard it is on the kids too ! They just want to have the love of the parent and they don't understand what has happened to them . I keep all service personal and their families in my prayers every night. And I will continue to do so . Please know that I am going to do my best to learn more about PTSD and I will make sure my family knows about it to ! May GOD bless you and your family <3 Thank-you and May your star start to shine again <3

    1. First off, I have been following you since you started and I stumbled on your site when searching for issues. We all know you arent perfect but who is? My wife is the one with problems which makes me one of the few men who are the caregiver and spouse. Talking about losing it. There are times when your blog sounds like my wife and I admire your strength, determination and courage. But also know that you need to be able to stumble too. We all can't be superwoman or ahem, superman right? Sometimes you just have to let them make their mistakes and give them tough love. You are honest, open and have helped me navigate and understand much of what is wrong with my wife. I think this will blow over but if not, let him make those mistakes. Let him see what he is losing. With all you have endured, its amazing to me you have stuck with him this long as most jump ship. No one would blame you if you left or separated. I would not think differently of you and I most definitely think you haven't failed at all. The only failure I see is one who is allowing PTSD to run his life. Perhaps having his friend home is a strong reminder once again. Maybe its stirring the pot inside of him and you are simply a scape goat. Keep writing. You have a ton of people out here listening to you. I wish I had commented before. I wanted to reach out to you and let you know you didn't fail at all. Stay strong. We need you. Sincerely, a very lost husband in MN

    2. You are doing a great job and I enjoy reading your blog. You have helped me greatly see my mistakes and things I put my family through. Please know you are loved, understood and appreciated by many. I will be thinking of you and thank you for always being there for me.

  7. Thank you,
    I am new to all of this; marriage,
    military life, ptsd, even blogging.
    I search the computer and pick the minds of new friends found here in hopes of ........well hope and the truth. I have learned in this past
    month that I am definitley not alone. I have also learned that my husbands "coldness" had little to do with myself or my actions.
    I married this WONDERFUL man, and I mean that,in May of 2011. He left for his 3rd tour in June. He returned to me in December 2011. I had spent 7 months waiting for my new husband to return....We had never even lived together yet....
    It is now only Feb of 2012 and we are seperated. We spent a month together which could be described by your blog above..... his actions sound so much like your husbands...but then, me knowing NOTHING about ptsd, I was just a bitch to him about the way he was acting. I have since learned a little about it by talking to some very exerienced people, reading books and blogs such as yours. I am very appreciative of your openness and honesty...to an extent I could never explain.
    You and the spouses like you are what get me through, you are who showed me that I was not to blame, solely. I thank you. And I will be praying for you....and the reat of you ...no matter where this road takes me

  8. Thank you for posting. And for the love of God, if You are listening, please offer some signs of hope....they are often to few and far between....for all of us. A mother of 3 myself, I wonder what the hell am I doing here. How much longer until we all fall down...

  9. Well reading this blog is like reading my life as well. My heart goes out to any family that has to endure life after war. Life and soldiers are never the same. My boyfriend is a 24 year Navy Veteran that was diagnosed with PTSD, TBI, after a hand injury with a generator caused him to pass out hitting his head during tour in Iraq in 2008. We are frustrated dealing with not only the issues of life, working and bills, but trying to get him on disablity has been a nightmare. The VA in Jackson Mississippi cant even get the facts of what happen straight. This is even with us personally sending a service record copies and VA hospital documentation. It's as if the accident to his hand and head didn't happen. His condition has gotten progressively more complicated and no one will listen. Therefore, life at home is more complicated. We live one day at a time, cause that's all we can do. If anyone has suggestion, please share.


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